Sticky Notes (The Stickies Application) Fast and Easy

Don’t know about you, but I use sticky notes all the time.  I currently have 37.  I have URL’s that I frequently need to copy, attachment code that I frequently have to add, things I need to remember (like our Mac Users Groups PO Box number), and other odds and ends.

Stickies comes with your operating system.  You will find it in the Applications Folder.  If you want to save it to your Dock, grab it from the Applications Folder and drag and drop it to your Dock.  If you just want to open it occasionally, get it from Spotlight by entering the first few letters of the word and then selecting it when it shows up.

To create a Stickies note the normal way, you open the app and select File > New Note. A blank notes opens and you enter whatever you want, as much as you want.

A blank sticky note

Enter your info and double click the dark portion at the top to “roll it up”.  You don’t have to “save it”.  It saves automatically. There are six color options found under the Color option in the menu.

That’s the usual method.  Here is a shortcut.

Highlight text that you want to add to a Sticky.  Can be from the web or a document or an email.  If photos are included as part of the block of selected text, they will be included in the note you create, but the layout probably will not.

Hit Shift + Command + Y and your highlighted info will automatically create a new sticky.

This entry was posted in Beginner Mac Tips, Lion Tips, Mac Tips. Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Sticky Notes (The Stickies Application) Fast and Easy

  1. pam jannece says:

    I want to delete stickies.

    • macnancy says:

      Hi Pam,

      I presume you want to delete an individual stickie. Open the stickie note and click on the tiny box in the upper left corner. A window will open, asking you if you really want to delete it. Click on “Don’t Save” and it will be discarded.

      • IChingUChing says:

        Thank you so much for this helpful instruction. Stickie Notes would do well to include it in their help notes.

      • Anne says:

        Hi Nancy worked great! Why is there so much confusion about deleting Stickie notes, it is so simple?

      • macnancy says:

        My theory is that anything is confusing if you don’t know how to do it. Think about the people who, when the mouse was first introduced, looked around on the floor for a mouse.

  2. Connie Johnson says:

    My son moved a sticky note “under” my dock – I can’t pull it out because it grabs an application. I can only see the top edge of it. Any tips?

    • macnancy says:

      Hi Connie,

      The easiest thing to do is to move the Dock out of the way until you can grab the sticky note and move it. To relocate the Dock, choose Apple Menu > System Preferences > Dock. When the window opens one of the options is Position on screen: Click on either the left or right button and your Dock will move to that size of your screen and be out of the way. To move it back to the bottom, follow these same steps. There are other ways to move the Dock, but you only need one so there is no need to complicate the issue. I personally hate it when someone gives me six directions for doing the same thing.

  3. Pingback: Cool Use For Stickies | Beginners Mac Blog

  4. susanbwrites says:

    I dont have a new note listing on my file toolbar

    • macnancy says:

      Hi Susan, If you are using the sticky notes that came as part of your operating system, then there will be a New Note option under File. Just make sure you have Stickies as the active application. Click on one of your existing notes and look up at the tool bar and make sure you see Stickies in the far left corner.

  5. I’m also having trouble getting rid of a sticky. I know I’ve done it in the past by messing around, but at the moment I’m having zero luck, and help isn’t helpful. All the web explanations I’ve found refer to the box in the upper left corner. I click on that box and the note either contracts to its header or expands to show the whole text. The clickable spot on the upper right corner makes it go full screen or back to normal. I’ve tried CMD-clicking, OPT-clicking, CTRL-clicking, FN-clicking, SHIFT-clicking, of course RIGHT clicking and some combinations of the above. And it’s really hard to “hit” that little box with the cursor on a 13-inch screen. Any other clues?

    • macnancy says:

      Hi Deborah, I’m afraid that tiny box in the upper left corner is your only option. You can’t make the sticky bigger, but you can consider making your cursor bigger and that might make it easier to hit the delete box. To make the cursor bigger select Apple Menu > System Preferences > Accessibility > Display. There is a cursor size slider. Try moving that to a bigger size and see if it helps your aim. It’s interesting that there is no delete option in the menu bar. Maybe that will be included in the next OS version.

      • Yeah. And when I do hit the box, either the sticky collapses to its upper bar or it expands to show the whole note. It doesn’t go away. : ( – It’s enough to get me to quit using stickies entirely, and I do find them handy!

  6. Emily says:

    One of my sticky notes is somehow outside the bounds of my screen, i.e. the top of the sticky note with the delete button is unusable because I can’t reach it. Is there any way to delete the sticky?

    • macnancy says:

      Hi Emily, I have two suggestions for you to try. The first is to click on the errant sticky note so that it becomes the active note (I’m assuming you can click on some part of the sticky note) and then select Window from the menu and then click on Zoom. In the best of all options, the note will open to your window screen size and you will be able to see and tap the delete button. (Clicking on Zoom again, or clicking on Collapse will reduce any note back to normal size).

      If that doesn’t work, you should try deleting the p-list. I think that should definitely take care of it. Before you do that you should save the content of all your current sticky’s because they may well disappear when you delete the p-lists. If you have to go this route and need directions for doing it, let me know which operating system you are running. The directions for Mountain Lion and Lion are a bit different than for earlier OSs. Good luck with solving this.

    • There’s another thing to try, Emily. Make the sticky active by clicking on it. That will give you the Stickies menu bar across the top. Under “File” choose “Close.” OR the keyboard command for the same is command-W, so you might be able to do this without using the menu. That’s how I finally got rid of mine.

      • macnancy says:

        Well, duh, Deborah. That is such a better suggestion than mine. For some reason when I tried to do that as a test (at 3 a.m.) I didn’t see it. I think I forgot to click on the specific sticky. Thanks for paying attention and speaking up.

      • You’re very welcome! I was really pleased to be able to offer something–and sometimes we need ALL the tricks, so it’s good to have them collected in one place {grin}. It did take me FOREVER (and your support) to come up with the solution that worked for me. Somehow “close” doesn’t seem like “delete,” and I’m not entirely sure the note isn’t still lurking as a file somewhere on my system, but at least I’m no longer looking at it.

  7. john says:

    how do i open a stickie that i have saved?

    • macnancy says:

      Hi John,

      Click on the top bar of the sticky note and it should open for you. By top bar, I mean the little portion of the sticky note that lets you know what it contains. Usually what is visible is the first line of type that you entered.

  8. mahsa says:

    I tried saving the stickys on my desktop but they dont look like stickys! they just appear as a plain text with no color or anything. Is there a way I can make them look like post-it on my desktop?
    Thank you

    • macnancy says:

      Yes, there is an easy way. Click on the note you wish to have a color, and then click on color in the top menu bar. Make your choice, and your designated note will become that color.

      • mahsa says:

        thank you for your reply. My problem is when I want to save my stickys on my desktop. They save as a “file”. I was wondering if there is a way for them to look like post-it on my desktop (like with windows). But since this is only an app it keeps it within the app & I cant save them on my desktop looking like pieces of paper? (do I need to save them at all?) if I dont then how do I go back to them later?

      • macnancy says:

        Your stickies will look like real pos-its on your desktop as long as you keep the app open. I’m emailing you an image to demonstrate that since I can’t include the image here.

  9. mahsa says:

    what do I do after I write the note? just quit the app? save it somewhere? how do I retrieve my notes?

  10. macnancy says:

    Hi Mahsa, when you write the note it is automatically saved. If you quit the app the stickies disappear from your desktop, but are still saved. To get them back, reopen Stickies. If you want them to be visible all the time, just leave the app open. You can leave them live on your desktop, but have them take up minimum space by double clicking on the bar at the top of each sticky. That will make it “roll up” but still be there for you to reach. Thanks for your question.

    • mahsa says:

      thank you so very much Nancy. I appreciate the snapshot 🙂 I get what you’re saying. I was comparing it with the windows version & that’s where the confusion came from. I thought I could keep them looking like post-its on my desktop even if I close the app. But I guess keeping the app open is no big deal 🙂 thank you very much for all your help.
      have a good day

  11. SteveK9 says:

    Noticed something odd. Running Maverick 10.9.4. If you close a note by clicking the upper left corner, it asks if you want to save and warns the contents will be lost if you don’t. If you respond ‘Don’t Save’. Quick Stickies. Start Stickies up again, the note reappears. Selecting ‘Close’ from the File menu offers the same options, but in this case the note is actually deleted.

  12. SteveK9 says:

    Meant “quit stickies”.

  13. vanessa says:

    How do I open the sticky app? My spotlight could not find it and it is not inside the Application folder. I am running Mavericks if that’s matter. Thanks

    • macnancy says:

      Hi Vanessa,

      Stickies is available in Mavericks. Make sure you search for it spelled stickies. If you still can’t find it, look for it on your Hard Drive. As a last resort, see if you can download it from the App store.

  14. Alison says:

    I have a sticky that I cannot add to. It does have a lot of text on it so I tried to remove some so I could add something else- I thought there might be a character limit – but that didn’t work. I get a big circle with a line through it when i try to type onto it. Any suggestions please?

    • macnancy says:

      Hi Alison, Is there any reason you can’t delete that particular sticky and start over? I would copy the text and save it somewhere like TextEdit just to make sure there aren’t any hidden bugs anywhere in the text. Then I would create a new note and type in the information you want to save. I’ve never heard of this problem before so it may be some fluke in your system.

  15. Sarah says:

    I have a 2 stickies that I have had on my desktop for almost a year. One is still present on my screen, but the other is no where to be found. I can double click the stickies app and the missing sticky is still there, but when I click on it to open it nothing happens. When I hit “Show all windows” it appears from flying in from the top right of the screen from somewhere of my screen! But when I try to click on it it flys back to the upper right corner without any part of it being able to be seen or clicked on. Please help! Thanks in advance,

    • macnancy says:

      Hi Sarah,

      I’m not sure about the cause of your problem, but what popped in my mind when I was reading it was that your display ratio may not be set appropriately for your screen. To look at this, go to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Display and click on the Scaled button. Try a different ratio from the one you are using and see if that helps. If it doesn’t, I suggest you call Apple support. 800 275 2273.

  16. RC says:

    Hi, how do you resize the “strip” (title) of the stickies? The titles are really tiny. Thanks

    • macnancy says:

      I don’t believe you can change the size of the strip. I researched the subject and also experimented with enlarging the font size. That didn’t help and I don’t know any other way to do it.

  17. FCB says:

    Hi, I collapsed my sticky notes and put them behind the toolbar and now I can’t find them.

    • macnancy says:

      The first thing I would try is to restart the computer. That might force them back where you want them to be. The second is to check under Stickies tool bar option to see if you have them marked to be hidden. I keep mine hidden all the time unless I need them. The third thing is to use Spotlight to search for them. That might allow you to pull them back on the desktop where you want them.

      • RJ says:

        The Stickies app does not utilize toolbars (icons to mouse click), but if the collapsed sticky is lost somewhere behind the menu bar ( bar) on a Mac?

        First off I would check that they weren’t simply hidden
        (You would be amazed at how many commands can be triggered by a Dachshund puppy walking across a laptop!!)
        In that case the Stickies icon would be on your Dock with a tiny dot or light under it.

        But if not, then I would try to:
        1. Arrange them differently (color/content) which moves them all back to the upper left corner

        2. Enable the menu bar hide function under the General tab in System Preferences

        3. Adjust your display resolution under the Display tab in System Preferences to a more compact resolution to try and coax it into view

        4. Do a blind Copy-Paste via the Keyboard: Rt click the Stickies icon in the Dock and select the correct title of the lost sticky, then ⌘+A (select all), ⌘+C (copy), ⌘+⇧+Y (New sticky with selection) Then go back to the missing one and ⌘+W (close) and choose “Don’t Save” to delete it wherever it may be hiding at

  18. Jerry T Harrison says:

    When I open my desk top all of my stickies open up, which take a lot of time. I can click on my sticky note at the bottom and they all go there which is great but how do I stop them all opening up when I sign on??.

    • macnancy says:

      Hi Jerry,

      If you choose the hide option the stickies will stay saved, but will not show until you select the show option. To do this, click on the stickie icon and hold it down. You should see a list of all your notes. Below that will be an option to hide. I am like you, do not want all those notes taking up space on my desktop unless I need them.

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